According to court filings, a 24-year-old Illinois woman presented a fake COVID-19 vaccination card to travel to Hawaii. But it had an obvious spelling error that led to her arrest. Misspelling of Moderna led to the arrest.
According to the records, she uploaded a vaccination card to the state’s Safe Travels program to avoid Hawaii’s 10-day traveler quarantine. Then, she arrived in Honolulu on a Southwest Airlines aircraft on Aug. 23.
“Airport screeners found suspicious errors … such as Moderna was spelled wrong and that her home was in Illinois but her shot was taken at Delaware,”
Wilson Lau is a special agent with the Hawaii attorney general’s investigation division. In an email to a Delaware official, Lau verified there was no vaccination record for the woman under her name and birth date.
The email is also there in the court filings. She was accused of two misdemeanor charges of breaking Hawaii’s emergency COVID-19 control guidelines. According to the public defender’s office, she was in detention on a $2,000 bail. It was until a judge released her at a hearing on Wednesday and scheduled another hearing in three weeks.
The office of State Public Defender James Tabe represented her at hearings this week. They declined to comment on her case; noting that it’s unclear whether she’ll hire her own attorney or seek a public defender.
On Wednesday, her voicemail at a number given in court filings was full. She didn’t react to a text message from The Associated Press right away.
Fake vaccination card
According to court filings, in addition to the suspicious card, authorities discovered that the travel information she submitted stated that she would be staying at a Waikiki Holiday Inn but did not include a reservation number or return flight information.
The hotel’s assistant manager acknowledged that Lau didn’t have a reservation. According to the court record, Lau attempted to contact her at the number she provided, but her voicemail was full. He claimed he emailed her but received no answer.
Lau said he spotted a photo of her with a “distinctive tattoo on her left hip area” when searching for her on Facebook.
According to the court complaint, the tattoo assisted investigators in locating her at a Southwest Airlines counter when she attempted to leave Honolulu on Aug. 28. She presented her identification and vaccination card to Lau. Lau informed her that she was being arrested for faking vaccination records.
Other travelers to Hawaii have been detained for falsifying vaccination cards. It includes a California father and son who appeared in court by Zoom on Wednesday and forfeited their right to a jury trial.